Become waterbug scientists in this family friendly outdoor activity that will have all the family fascinated! A waterbug survey is a great way to get the family out of the house, become acquainted with your local creek and contribute to City of Newcastle's creek monitoring data.

Waterbugs are insects that are found in waterways like creeks and wetlands. Not only are waterbugs an important food source for many birds, lizards, fish and other animals, they also give us a picture of how healthy a creek or wetland is. This is because some waterbugs are very sensitive to pollution, while others are more tolerant, so if sensitive waterbugs don’t show up in your sample, it may mean that the waterway is experiencing some pollution.

To get started:

  1. Watch our video to learn how to collect and identify waterbugs.
  2. Don’t own a dipnet? Have you got an old broom or broom handle lying around in the garage? Unscrew the broom head from the handle and attach an old sieve with gaffa/duct tape….and there you have a homemade waterbug dipnet.
  3. Download our ID charts and data sheets – we've got age appropriate data sheets for ages 4-adults!
  4. Head down to your local creek and start your waterbug sample!
  5. Choose to submit your data sheet to naturalconnection@ncc.nsw.gov.au and contribute to our creek monitoring data.


Fact Sheets

Early Stage 1 - What are waterbugs?

Stage 2 - Stage 6 - Getting to know your waterbugs

Checklists & Worksheets

Early Stage 1 - Stage 1 - Waterbug checklist

Stage 2 - Stage 3 - Waterbug datasheet

Stage 4 - Stage 6 - Waterbug signal datasheet